“Sharing profit with them as we go empowers each employee, each individual, to spend the money or invest for the future.”
After three decades in business, Optimax CEO Rick Plympton and President Mike Mandina were ready to turn an eye to succession.
Through their partnership, Rick and Mike had transformed Rochester-based Optimax into the leading precision optics manufacturer in the country, employing over 400 people and generating $500 million in revenue. And they did so by investing in their company’s people and culture—distributing a quarter of each month’s profits to employees.
“Sharing profit with them as we go empowers each employee, each individual, to spend the money or invest for the future,” said Rick. “The amount is the same for fully-vested employees whether you’re the janitor, or the president of the company, or the CEO. We’re all on the same bonus plan.”
As the pair planned for Optimax’s future, they sought to guarantee the company’s financial stability—and growth—while still preserving their employee-focused legacy. That ruled out an outside buyer. And while Rick and Mike considered selling to their younger leadership team, they felt that new owners might be considered to sell down the line as Optimax expanded.
After considering all their options, Rick and Mike decided to transition their business to employee ownership. With EO, the two ensure that the business will never sell, profits will always be shared with employees, and Optimax’s leadership will prioritize innovation and new creation. The transition is also a boon for Optimax’s customers, who know that they can expect the same quality of service from the company for years to come.
“Our customers can rest assured that Optimax is never going to be sold,” said Mike. “Most of the organizations that I've been able to speak with not only give a sigh of relief, but they then go back and say: ‘What else can we be doing with Optimax?’”
Mike is confident that the transition will help their business thrive in the years to come: “In the next 30 years, Optimax will generate over $5 billion in revenue, and roughly half of that will be shared with our workforce: $2.5 billion. That's how you make an impact.”